'No choice but to raise La Festa cost'

ORGANISERS of La Festa have increased the price of admission for the third year running following a $19,000 loss in 2013.

The cost of a ticket has risen by $5 every year since organisers introduced a fee for the first time in 2010.

To get through the gates this year an adult will have to stump up $15, although children remain free of charge.

The announcement of a new major sponsor was expected by the end of the week, bringing in more sponsorship money than ever before, but the increase would not cover the losses.

La Festa chairman and councillor Doug Curran expected backlash following the decision, but said operational costs had already been "cut to the bone" and he had to increase the fare.

"We save every cent we can and of course organisers don't make a cent, but the prices are increasing, so there's no other option other than to increase the ticket fee," Cr Curran said.

"We want people to have a good day and if it costs people an extra $5 for seven or eight hours of enjoyment, well we're sorry, but that's how things have to be.

"We're trying not to skimp on anything and at the end of the day local businesses do well, we hire local bands, local food outlets, local hire companies and spend all our money locally but costs keep increasing, which is why (ticket) prices have to go up."

Cr Curran said this year's organising committee has had a changing of the guard and his focus was keeping the morale high among the new faces.

"Everything we had last year will be there again this year including celebrity chefs, food outlets, wine outlets and two stages, but we've got a fresh approach thanks to new organisers," he said.

"We know this decision will attract bad publicity, but there's nothing we can do.

"From my point of view, I need to remind the community we're working as hard as we can."

According to Cr Curran, a complete review of La Festa spending revealed no one particular increase in expenditure was outstripping another, with the exception of hire gear, which was a necessary cost.

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